Apple is still sucking most of the profit out of the mobile phone business

January 31, 2011, 2:50 PM UTC

In the fourth quarter of 2010, the iPhone had 4.2% market share and took 51% of the profit

Click to enlarge. Source: Asymco

On the same day that Canalys reported that Google’s (GOOG) Android had become the world’s leading smartphone platform in Q4 2010 — with 33.3% of market share to Nokia’s (NOK) 31% and Apple’s (AAPL) 16.2% — Asymco‘s Horace Dediu posted the chart at right that puts Android’s growth in perspective.

It shows the percentage of profit being taken by the eight largest vendors of all types of mobile phones — not just smartphones. In this far larger market, Apple had only 4.2% of the market, but raked in 51% of the profit. Despite Google’s gains over the past three months, Apple’s share of the spoils actually went up a percentage point from Q3 2010.

Click here to see Dediu’s full Q4 market overview, including charts for market share and sales share.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]